Following a two-season absence, the annual winter gathering of the KC Royals and their fans returned Saturday. The name ("Royals Rally"), venue (Kauffman Stadium) and format were different, but as always the get-together signaled something important: the beginning of a new season isn't that far away.
Spring training must, of course, come first, and it starts a week from Wednesday when pitchers and catchers report to the organization's Surprise, Arizona, spring training complex. The rest of the squad arrives Feb. 20.
When, though, does the regular season begin? When will fans get their first look at the roster the Royals finalize at the conclusion of the Cactus League schedule?
Read on for the answer to that and a few other questions.
The KC Royals are slated to welcome the 2023 season before April even begins.
Major League Baseball's 2023 season, which will feature each team playing every other team, kicks off Thursday, March 30 with every club scheduled to be in action.
That includes Kansas City. The famously unpredictable Midwest March weather permitting, the Royals will host American League Central Division rival Minnesota with first pitch scheduled for 3:10 p.m. CDT. Barring a rainout or other weather-triggered intervention, KC and Minnesota will take March 31 off before winding up their three-game set with afternoon games April 1 and 2.
Will the KC Royals' Opening Day game be on television or radio this year?
What hurler might the KC Royals choose to start on the mound Opening Day?
His recent re-signing makes Zack Greinke one of the leading candidates for Opening Day starter. Former manager Mike Matheny gave him that honor last season, but look for Brady Singer to get this year's nod from new skipper Matt Quatraro.
Greinke went 4-9 last year but pitched better than his record might otherwise suggest. Singer's record, however, accurately reflected how fine his work was: after a short, early-season retuning trip to Triple-A Omaha, Singer finished 10-5 with a 3.23 ERA and won the club's Bruce Rice Pitcher of the Year award.
What do KC Royals fans have to look forward to on this year's Opening Day?
Together with the return of baseball, Kansas City fans will get their first regular season look at the roster revamping general manager J.J. Picollo has been busy with this winter. Depending on how deep Quatraro's starter goes and how well the bullpen performs against the Twins, for example, new short reliever Aroldis Chapman could make his Royals debut. Sure to be answered is the question of who'll replace recently traded Michael A. Taylor in center field, and whether Hunter Dozier will return to third base.
And managing his first regular season game with the Royals, and in the big leagues, will be Quatraro.
Opening Day is less than two months away.